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NAEYC Advancing Equity Position Statement

Position Statement
Adopted by the NAEYC National
Governing Board April 2019
Advancing Equity
in Early Childhood Education
National Association for the Education of Young Children
All children have the right to equitable learning opportunities that
help them achieve their full potential as engaged learners and
valued members of society. Thus, all early childhood educators have
a professional obligation to advance equity. They can do this best
when they are effectively supported by the early learning settings
in which they work and when they and their wider communities
embrace diversity and full inclusion as strengths, uphold
fundamental principles of fairness and justice, and work to eliminate
structural inequities that limit equitable learning opportunities.
Disponible en Español: NAEYC.org/equidad
Advancing Equity in Early Childhood Education
3 Purpose
5 Position
6 Recommendations for Everyone
7 Recommendations for Early Childhood Educators
Create a Caring, Equitable Community of Engaged Learners
Establish Reciprocal Relationships with Families
Observe, Document, and Assess Children’s Learning and Development
Advocate on Behalf of Young Children, Families, and the Early Childhood Profession
9 Recommendations for Administrators of Schools, Centers, Family
Child Care Homes, and Other Early Childhood Education Settings
10 Recommendations for those Facilitating Educator
Preparation and Professional Development
11 Recommendations for Public Policymakers
12 The Evidence for this Position Statement
Principles of Child Development and Learning
The Social-Cultural Context of Child Development and Learning
16 Conclusion
17 Definitions of Key Terms
19 Endnotes
NAEYC Position Statement
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Advancing Equity in Early Childhood Education: A Position Statement
of the National Association for the Education of Young Children.
Copyright © 2019 by the National Association for the Education of
Young Children. All rights reserved.
This position statement is one of five foundational documents NAEYC has developed in
collaboration with the early childhood profession. With its specific focus on advancing
equity in early childhood education, this statement complements and supports the
other foundational documents that (1) define developmentally appropriate practice, (2)
set professional standards and competencies for early childhood educators, (3) define
the profession’s code of ethics, and (4) outline standards for early learning programs.
These foundational statements are grounded in NAEYC’s core values that
emphasize diversity and inclusion and that respect the dignity and worth of
each individual. The statements are built upon a growing body of research and
professional knowledge that underscores the complex and critical ways in which
early childhood educators promote early learning through their relationships—
with children, families, and colleagues—that are embedded in a broader societal
context of inequities in which implicit and explicit bias are pervasive.
NAEYC’s Foundational Documents
Practice (DAP)
Standards and
Competencies for
Early Childhood
Code of
Ethical Conduct
Equity in Early
Purpose continued
Advancing equity in early childhood education requires
understanding this broader societal context, these biases,
and the ways in which historical and current inequities have
shaped the profession, as they have shaped our nation. The
biases we refer to here are based on race, class, culture,
gender, sexual orientation, ability and disability, language,
national origin, indigenous heritage, religion, and other
identities. They are rooted in our nation’s social, political,
economic, and educational structures. Precisely because
these biases are both individual and institutional, addressing
structural inequities requires attention to both interpersonal
dynamics—the day-to-day relationships and interactions at
the core of early childhood education practice—and systemic
influences—the uneven distribution of power and privilege
inherent in public and private systems nationwide, including
in early childhood education.
No single individual, leader, or organization has all the
answers related to equity. NAEYC presents this statement after
significant reflection and with humility and awareness of our
own history and limitations, in keeping with our core belief in
continuous quality improvement. In this statement, we share
our commitment to becoming a more diverse, high-performing,
and inclusive organization serving a more diverse, highperforming, and inclusive profession. Our goal is to nurture
a more diverse and inclusive generation of young children
who thrive through their experiences of equitable learning
opportunities in early learning programs. We commit—both
individually and collectively—to continuous learning based
on personally reflecting on how our beliefs and actions have
been shaped by our experiences of the systems of privilege
and oppression in which we operate and based on respectfully
listening to others’ perspectives. Although this statement
may be useful to an international audience, we caution that
it is based on the context of early childhood education within
the United States. In the spirit of learning we have included
a list of definitions of terms, many of which are referenced in
the document, as well as others that are often used in equity
discussions. These definitions begin on page 17.
This position statement outlines steps needed to
provide high-quality early learning programs that build on
each child’s unique individual and family strengths, cultural
background, language(s), abilities, and experiences and
eliminate differences in educational outcomes
as a result of who children are, where they live,
and what resources their families have.
The document begins with the statement of NAEYC’s position
regarding the importance of equity in early childhood
education. It then provides recommendations for advancing
equity, beginning with recommendations for self-reflection
that apply to everyone. Specific recommendations are also
provided for early childhood educators; administrators
of schools, centers, family child care homes, and other
early childhood education settings; facilitators of educator
preparation and professional development in higher
education and other spheres; and public policymakers. The
recommendations are followed by a synthesis of current early
childhood education research through the lenses of equity
and NAEYC core values; this discussion of evidence identifies
principles of child development and learning and how they are
impacted by social-cultural contexts.
All children have the right to equitable learning opportunities that enable them to
achieve their full potential as engaged learners and valued members of society.
Advancing the right to equitable learning opportunities
requires recognizing and dismantling the systems of bias that
accord privilege to some and are unjust to others. Advancing
the full inclusion of all individuals across all social identities
will take sustained efforts far beyond those of early childhood
educators alone. Early childhood educators, however, have
a unique opportunity and obligation to advance equity. With
the support of the early education system as a whole, they can
create early learning environments that equitably distribute
learning opportunities by helping all children experience
responsive interactions that nurture their full range of social,
emotional, cognitive, physical, and linguistic abilities; that
reflect and model fundamental principles of fairness and
justice; and that help them accomplish the goals of anti-bias
education. Each child will
› demonstrate self-awareness, confidence, family
pride, and positive social identities;
› express comfort and joy with human diversity, use
accurate language for human differences, and form deep,
caring human connections across diverse backgrounds;
› increasingly recognize and have language to describe
unfairness (injustice) and understand that unfairness hurts;
› have the will and the skills to act, with others or alone,
against prejudice and/or discriminatory actions.1
Early childhood education settings—including centers, family
child care homes, and schools—are often among children’s
first communities beyond their families. These settings offer
important contexts for children’s learning. They should be
environments in which children learn that they are valued by
others, learn how to treat others with fairness and respect, and
learn how to embrace human differences rather than ignore or
fear them.
When early childhood educators use inclusive teaching
approaches, they demonstrate that they respect diversity
and value all children’s strengths. Early childhood educators
can model humility and a willingness to learn by being
accountable for any negative impacts of their own biases on
their interactions with children and their families. They can
work to ensure that all children have equitable access to the
learning environment, the materials, and the adult–child
and child–child interactions that help children thrive. Early
childhood educators can recognize and support each child’s
unique strengths, seeking through personal and collective
reflection to avoid biases—explicit or implicit—that may affect
their decision making related to children.
To effectively advance equity and embrace diversity and full
inclusion, early childhood educators need work settings that
also embrace these goals—not only for the children and families
served but also for the educators themselves. Early childhood
educators should be well prepared in their professional
knowledge, skills, and dispositions to teach in diverse, inclusive
settings. They also need to be supported by, and to advocate
for, equity- and diversity-focused public policies. Each of these
areas is addressed more fully in the recommendations below.
Although the primary focus of this statement is on equitable
learning opportunities for young children, we stress that
such opportunities depend on equitable treatment of early
childhood educators as well. We make these recommendations
understanding the critical importance of building a recognized
early childhood profession and a system with sufficient funding
to ensure that all its members receive equitable compensation
and professional recognition that reflect the importance of
their work.
Recognizing that both institutional and interpersonal systems
must change, our recommendations begin with a focus on
individual reflection. Across all roles and settings, advancing
equity requires a dedication to self-reflection, a willingness to
respectfully listen to others’ perspectives without interruption
or defensiveness, and a commitment to continuous learning
to improve practice. Members of groups that have historically
enjoyed advantages must be willing to recognize the oftenunintended consequences of ignorance, action, and inaction
and how they may contribute to perpetuating existing systems
of privilege. It is also important to recognize the many
reactions associated with marginalization that begin in early
childhood and range from internalization to resistance.2
The following general recommendations apply to everyone
involved in any aspect of early childhood education.
Recommendations for Everyone
Build awareness and understanding of your
culture, personal beliefs, values, and biases.
Recognize that everyone holds some types of bias
based on their personal background and experiences.
Even if you think of yourself as unbiased, reflect on
the impacts of racism, sexism, classism, ableism,
heterosexism, xenophobia, and other systems of
oppression affecting you and the people around you.
Identify where your varied social identities have
provided strengths and understandings based on
your experiences of both injustice and privilege.
Recognize the power and benefits of diversity
and inclusivity. Carefully observe and listen to
others (children, families, colleagues). Expand your
knowledge by considering diverse experiences and
perspectives without generalizing or stereotyping.
Take responsibility for biased actions, even if
unintended, and actively work to repair the
harm. When you commit a biased action, be ready
and willing to be held accountable. Resist the urge to
become defensive, especially as a member of a privileged
group. Before making judgments, take responsibility for
recognizing what you don’t know or understand and use the
opportunity to learn and reflect. Be willing to constructively
share feedback and discuss alternative approaches
when observing potentially biased actions by others.
Acknowledge and seek to understand structural
inequities and their impact over time. Take action
when outcomes vary significantly by social identities (e.g.,
lopsided achievement test scores, number and frequency
of suspensions or expulsions that disproportionately target
African American and Latino boys, or engagement with
certain materials and activities by gender). Look deeper
at how your expectations, practices, curriculum, and/or
policies may contribute (perhaps unwittingly) to inequitable
outcomes for children and take steps to change them.
View your commitment to cultural responsiveness
as an ongoing process. It is not a one-time matter of
mastering knowledge of customs and practices, but an
enduring responsibility to learn and reflect based on direct
experiences with children, their families, and others.
Recognize that the professional knowledge
base is changing. There is growing awareness of the
limitations of child development theories and research
based primarily on a normative perspective of White,
middle-class children without disabilities educated in
predominantly English-language schools.3, 4 Keep up to
date professionally as more strengths-based approaches
to research and practice are articulated and as narrowly
defined normative approaches to child development
and learning are questioned. Be willing to challenge the
use of outdated or narrowly defined approaches—for
example, in curriculum, assessment policies and practices,
or early learning standards. Seek information from
families and communities about their social and cultural
beliefs and practices to supplement your knowledge.
Recommendations for Early Childhood Educators5
Create a Caring, Equitable Community
of Engaged Learners
Uphold the unique value and dignity of each child
and family. Ensure that all children see themselves
and their daily experiences, as well as the daily lives of
others within and beyond their community, positively
reflected in the design and implementation of pedagogy,
curriculum, learning environment, interactions,
and materials. Celebrate diversity by acknowledging
similarities and differences and provide perspectives
that recognize beauty and value across differences.
Recognize each child’s unique strengths and
support the full inclusion of all children—
given differences in culture, family structure,
language, racial identity, gender, abilities and
disabilities, religious beliefs, or economic class.
Help children get to know, recognize, and support one
another as valued members of the community. Take
care that no one feels bullied, invisible, or unnoticed.
Develop trusting relationships with children
and nurture relationships among them while
building on their knowledge and skills. Embrace
children’s cultural experiences and the languages and
customs that shape their learning. Treat each child
with respect. Eliminate language or behavior that is
stereotypical, demeaning, exclusionary, or judgmental.
Consider the developmental, cultural, and
linguistic appropriateness of the learning
environment and your teaching practices for each
child. Offer meaningful, relevant, and appropriately
challenging activities across all interests and abilities.
Children of all genders, with and without disabilities,
should see themselves and their families, languages,
and cultures regularly and meaningfully reflected in the
environment and learning materials. Counter common
stereotypes and misinformation. Remember that the
learning environment and its materials reflect what you do
and do not value by what is present and what is omitted.
Involve children, families, and the community
in the design and implementation of learning
activities. Doing this builds on the funds of knowledge
that children and families bring as members of their
cultures and communities while also sparking children’s
interest and engagement. Recognizing the community as
a context for learning can model citizen engagement.
Actively promote children’s agency. Provide each
child with opportunities for rich, engaging play and
opportunities to make choices in planning and carrying
out activities. Use open-ended activities that encourage
children to work together and solve problems to support
learning across all areas of development and curriculum.
Scaffold children’s learning to achieve
meaningful goals. Set challenging but achievable
goals for each child. Build on children’s strengths and
interests to affirm their identities and help them gain
new skills, understanding, and vocabulary. Provide
supports as needed while you communicate—both
verbally and nonverbally—your authentic confidence
in each child’s ability to achieve these goals.
Design and implement learning activities using
language(s) that the children understand.
Support the development of children’s first languages
while simultaneously promoting proficiency in English.
Similarly, recognize and support dialectal differences
as children gain proficiency in the Standard Academic
English they are expected to use in school.6
Recognize and be prepared to provide different
levels of support to different children depending
on what they need. For example, some children may
need more attention at certain times or more support
for learning particular concepts or skills. Differentiating
support in a strengths-based way is the most equitable
approach because it helps to meet each child’s needs.
10. Consider how your own biases (implicit and
explicit) may be contributing to your interactions
and the messages you are sending children.
Also reflect on whether biases may contribute to
your understanding of a situation. How might they
be affecting your judgment of a child’s behavior,
especially a behavior you find negative or challenging?
What messages do children take from your verbal and
nonverbal cues about themselves and other children?
Recognize that all relationships are reciprocal, and
thus that your behavior impacts that of children.
11. Use multi-tiered systems of support. Collaborate
with early childhood special educators and other allied
education and health professionals as needed. Facilitate
each professional establishing a relationship with each
child to foster success and maximize potential.
Establish Reciprocal Relationships with Families
Embrace the primary role of families in
children’s development and learning. Recognize
and acknowledge family members based on how
families define their members and their roles. Seek
to learn about and honor each family’s child-rearing
values, languages (including dialects), and culture.
Gather information about the hopes and expectations
families have for their children’s behavior, learning,
and development so that you can support their goals.
Uphold every family’s right to make decisions
for and with their children. If a family’s desire
appears to conflict with your professional knowledge
or presents an ethical dilemma, work with the family
to learn more, identify common goals, and strive
to establish mutually acceptable strategies.
Be curious, making time to learn about the families
with whom you work. This includes learning about their
languages, customs, activities, values, and beliefs so you
can provide a culturally and linguistically responsive and
sustaining learning environment. It requires intentionally
reaching out to families who, for a range of reasons, may
not initiate or respond to traditional approaches (e.g., paper
and pencil/electronic surveys, invitations to open houses,
parent–teacher conferences) to interact with educators.
Maintain consistently high expectations for
family involvement, being open to multiple
and varied forms of engagement and providing
intentional and responsive supports. Ask families
how they would like to be involved and what supports
may be helpful. Families may face challenges (e.g.,
fear due to immigration status, less flexibility during
the workday, child care or transportation issues)
that may require a variety of approaches to building
engagement. Recognize that it is your responsibility as
an educator to connect with families successfully so that
you can provide the most culturally and linguistically
sustaining learning environment for each child.
Communicate the value of multilingualism to
all families. All children benefit from the social and
cognitive advantages of multilingualism and multiliteracy.
Make sure families of emergent bilinguals understand
the academic benefits and the significance of supporting
their child’s home language as English is introduced
through the early childhood program, to ensure their
children develop into fully bilingual and biliterate adults.
Observe, Document, and Assess Children’s
Learning and Development
Recognize the potential of your own culture
and background affecting your judgment when
observing, documenting, and assessing children’s
behavior, learning, or development. Approach a
child’s confusing or challenging behavior as an opportunity
for inquiry. Consider whether these may be behaviors
that work well for the child’s own home or community
context but differ or conflict with your family culture
and/or the culture of your setting. How can you adapt
your own expectations and learning environment to
incorporate each child’s cultural way of being? Also,
consider the societal and structural perspectives: How
might poverty, trauma, inequities, and other adverse
conditions affect how children negotiate and respond to
their world? How can you help each child build resilience?
Use authentic assessments that seek to identify
children’s strengths and provide a well-rounded
picture of development. For children whose first
language is not English, conduct assessments in as
many of the children’s home languages as possible.
If you are required to use an assessment tool that
has not been established as reliable or valid for the
characteristics of a given child, recognize the limitations
of the findings and strive to make sure they are not
used as a key factor in high-stakes decisions.
Focus on strengths. Develop the skill to observe a
child’s environment from the child’s perspective. Seek to
change what you can about your own behaviors to support
that child instead of expecting the child to change first.
Recognize that it is often easier to focus on what a child
isn’t doing compared with peers than it is to see what that
child can do in a given context (or could do with support).
Advocate on Behalf of Young Children, Families,
and the Early Childhood Profession
Speak out against unfair policies or practices
and challenge biased perspectives. Work to
embed fair and equitable approaches in all aspects of
early childhood program delivery, including standards,
assessments, curriculum, and personnel practices.
Look for ways to work collectively with
others who are committed to equity. Consider
it a professional responsibility to help challenge and
change policies, laws, systems, and institutional
practices that keep social inequities in place.
Recommendations for Administrators of Schools, Centers, Family
Child Care Homes, and Other Early Childhood Education Settings
Provide high-quality early learning services that
demonstrate a commitment to equitable outcomes
for all children. Arrange budgets to equitably meet
the needs of children and staff. Recognize that highquality programs will look different in different settings
because they reflect the values, beliefs, and practices
of specific children, families, and communities.
Provide regular time and space to foster a learning
community among administrators and staff
regarding equity issues. Include opportunities for all
individuals to reflect about their own cultural attitudes
and behaviors as well as to uncover and change actions
that reflect implicit bias and microaggressions toward
children, families, school staff, and administrators.
Take proactive steps with measurable goals to
recruit and retain educators and leaders who
reflect the diversity of children and families
served and who meet professional expectations.
All children benefit from a diverse teaching and leadership
staff, but it is especially important for children whose
social identities have historically been marginalized
to see people like them as teachers and leaders.
Establish collaborative relationships with
other social service agencies and providers
within the community. Support and give voice
to diverse perspectives to strengthen the network of
resources available to all children and families.
Establish clear protocols for dealing with
children’s challenging behaviors and provide
teaching staff with consultation and support
to address them effectively and equitably. To
consider potential effects of implicit bias, regularly collect
and assess data regarding whether certain policies and
procedures, including curriculum and instructional
practices, have differential impacts on different groups of
children. Set a goal of immediately limiting and ultimately
eliminating suspensions and expulsions by ensuring
appropriate supports for teachers, children, and families.
Create meaningful, ongoing opportunities
for multiple voices with diverse perspectives
to engage in leadership and decision making.
Recognize that implicit biases have often resulted in
limited opportunities for members of marginalized groups.
Consider and address factors that create barriers to
diversified participation (e.g., time of meetings, location of
meetings, languages in which meetings are conducted).
Employ staff who speak the languages of
the children and families served. When many
languages are spoken by the families served, establish
relationships with agencies or organizations that can
assist with translation and interpretation services. Avoid
using the children themselves as translators as much as
possible. Families may also be able to identify someone
they are comfortable including in conversations.
Ensure that any formal assessment tools
are designed and validated for use with the
children being assessed. Key characteristics to
consider include age, culture, language, social and
economic status, and ability and disability. Assessors
should also be proficient in the language and culture
in which the assessment is conducted. If appropriate
assessment tools are not available for all children,
interpret the results considering these limitations.
Recognize the value of serving a diverse group
of children and strive to increase the range of
diversity among those served. Race, ethnicity,
language, and social and economic status are some
dimensions by which early childhood education
settings have historically been segregated.
Recommendations for those Facilitating Educator
Preparation and Professional Development
Prepare current and prospective early childhood
educators to provide equitable learning
opportunities for all children. Ensure that
prospective educators understand the historical and
systemic issues that have created structural inequities in
society, including in early childhood education. Ensure
that their preparation and field experiences provide
opportunities to work effectively with diverse populations.
Prepare prospective early childhood educators to
meet the Professional Standards and Competencies
for Early Childhood Educators (formerly NAEYC’s
Professional Preparation Standards). Ensure that
curriculum and field experiences reflect a focus on diversity,
full inclusion, and equity within each of the competencies to
cultivate culturally and linguistically responsive practices.
Work with students, community leaders, and
public officials to address barriers to educational
attainment in the specific community you serve.
Pay special attention to assumptions about academic
skill attainment in communities with inadequate public
schools, transportation barriers (e.g., limited public
transit), financial constraints (e.g., student loans, tuition
balances, outstanding bookstore bills), course scheduling
during the working day, lack of child care, and the like.
Design educational programs that put students’ needs
first and take identified barriers into account while also
working to remove those barriers (e.g., loan forgiveness
programs, evening and weekend courses, extended
bus or train service, child care services aligned with
course and professional development offerings).
Implement transfer and articulation policies
that recognize and award credits for students’
previous early childhood courses and degrees as
well as demonstrated competency through prior
work experience. This will support a wide range of
students in advancing their postsecondary credentials.
Work actively to foster a sense of belonging,
community, and support among first-generation
college students. Cohorts and facilitated support from
first-generation graduates can be especially useful.
Set and achieve measurable goals to recruit and
retain a representative faculty across multiple
dimensions. Consider establishing goals related to
race, ethnicity, age, language, ability and disability,
gender, and sexual orientation, among others.
Provide regular time and space to foster a
learning community among administrators,
faculty, and staff. Create opportunities for reflection
and learning about cultural respect and responsiveness,
including potential instances of implicit bias and
microaggressions toward both children and adults.
Ensure that all professional standards, career
pathways, articulation, advisory structures,
data collection, and financing systems in state
professional development systems are subjected
to review. Assess whether each of the system’s policies
supports workforce diversity by reflecting the children and
families served and offering equitable access to professional
development. Determine whether these systems serve
to increase compensation parity across early childhood
education settings and sectors, birth through age 8.
Recommendations for Public Policymakers
Use an equity lens to consider policy impacts on
all children and on the bonds between them and
their families. Work to change any policy that either
directly or through unintended negative consequences
undermines children’s physical and emotional well-being
or weakens the bonds between children and their families.
Increase financing for high-quality early learning
services. Ensure that there are sufficient resources to
make high-quality early childhood education universally
accessible. Every setting should have the resources it
requires to meet the needs of its children and families.
This includes ensuring equitable access to high-quality
higher education and compensation for a qualified
workforce. See the NASEM report Transforming the
Financing of Early Care and Education for more details.7
Revise early learning standards to ensure that
they reflect the culturally diverse settings in
which educators practice. Provide ongoing, in-depth
staff development on how to use standards in diverse
classrooms. Quality rating and improvement systems
should further the principles of equity across all aspects of
education, including curriculum, instruction, full inclusion,
family engagement, program design, and delivery.
Make sure policies promote the use of authentic
assessments that are developmentally, culturally,
and linguistically appropriate for the children
being assessed and use valid and reliable tools
designed for a purpose consistent with the intent of
the assessment. Assessments should be tied to children’s
daily activities, supported by professional development,
and inclusive of families; they should be purposefully used
to make sound decisions about teaching and learning,
to identify significant concerns that may require focused
intervention for individual children, and to help programs
improve their educational and developmental interventions.
Increase opportunities for families to choose
early childhood programs that serve diverse
populations of children. Incentivize these choices
and seek to provide supports such as transportation.
These supports will help to reduce the segregation of
programs (primarily by race, language, ability, and
class), which reflects segregated housing patterns
and fuels persistent discrimination and inequities.
Include community-based programs and family
child care homes in state funding systems for
early childhood education. Ensure that these systems
equitably support community-based programs and engage
community members and families in activist and leadership
roles. Support the educators who work in community-based
programs so they can meet high-quality standards while
allowing families to choose the best setting for their needs.
Ensure sufficient funding for, access to,
and supports for children, teachers, and
administrators to respond to children’s behaviors
that others find challenging. Mental health supports
and prevention-oriented interventions can help meet each
child’s needs, including mental health challenges, without
stigmatization, and eliminate the use of suspensions
and expulsions across all early childhood settings.
Establish comparable compensation (including
benefits) across settings for early childhood
educators with comparable qualifications,
experience, and responsibilities. Focusing only
on comparable compensation for those working
in pre-K settings will deepen disparities felt by
educators working with infants and toddlers, who are
disproportionately women of color. Including educators
working with infants and toddlers in compensation
policies is a fundamental matter of equity.
Incorporate the science of toxic stress and adverse
childhood experiences (ACEs) into federal and
state policies and programs. Trauma-informed
care and healing-centered approaches can support
resilience and help mitigate the effects of toxic stress
and ACEs, which affect children of all social groups but
disproportionately affect children of marginalized groups.
10. Promote national, state, and local policies that
promote and support multilingualism for all
children. This can include funding for early learning duallanguage immersion programs, early childhood educator
professional development for teaching and supporting
emergent bilinguals, and the inclusion of multi/dual language
promotion in quality rating and improvement systems.
11. Set a goal of reducing the US child poverty rate
by half within a decade. A 2019 National Academies
of Sciences report provides a consensus approach to
achieving this goal through specific policies such as
supporting families’ financial well-being and stability,
ensuring universal child health insurance, and providing
universal access to early care and education.8
The Evidence for this Position Statement
The recommendations are based on a set of principles that
synthesize current early childhood education research through
the lenses of equity and NAEYC’s core values.9
Supported by hundreds
of individuals and
organizations; see the full
list of endorsements at
Principles of Child Development and Learning
Early childhood (birth through age 8) is
a uniquely valuable and vulnerable time
in the human life cycle. The early childhood
years lay the foundation and create trajectories
for all later learning and development.10, 11, 12
Each individual—child, family member, and
early educator—is unique. Each has dignity and
value and is equally worthy of respect. Embracing and
including multiple perspectives as a result of diverse
lived experiences is valuable and enriching for all.
Each individual belongs to multiple social and
cultural groups.13 This creates richly varied and
complex social identities (related to race, gender, culture,
language, ability and disability, and indigenous heritage
identities, among others). Children learn the socially
constructed meanings of these identities early in life,
in part by recognizing how they and others who share
or do not share them are treated.14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 Early
childhood educators and early childhood programs in
centers, homes, and schools play a critical role in fostering
children’s development of positive social identities.20, 21, 22
Learning is a social process profoundly
shaped by culture, social interactions, and
language.23, 24 From early infancy, children are
hardwired to seek human interaction.25 They construct
knowledge through their interactions with people
and their environment, and they make meaning of
their experiences through a cultural lens.26, 27
Language and communication are essential to the
learning process. Young children who are exposed to
multiple linguistic contexts can learn multiple languages,
which carries many cognitive, cultural, economic, and social
advantages.28 This process is facilitated when children’s
first language is recognized as an asset and supported by
competent speakers through rich, frequent, child-directed
language as the second language is introduced.29, 30, 31
Families are the primary context for children’s
development and learning.32 Family relationships
precede and endure long after children’s relationships with
early childhood educators have ended. Early childhood
educators are responsible for partnering with families
to ensure consistent relationships between school and
home. This includes recognizing families as experts
about their children and respecting their languages.33
It means learning as much as possible about families’
cultures in order to incorporate their funds of knowledge
into the curriculum, teaching practices, and learning
environment.34 It also means actively working to support
and sustain family languages and cultures.35 Finally, it
means recognizing and addressing the ways in which
early childhood educators’ own biases can affect their
work with families, to ensure that all families receive
the same acknowledgment, support, and respect.36
Learning, emotions, and memory are inextricably
interconnected in brain processing networks.37
Positive emotions and a sense of security promote memory
and learning. Learning is also facilitated when the learner
perceives the content and skills as useful because of
their connection to personal motivations and interests.
Connections to life experiences and sense of mastery and
belonging are especially important for young children.
Toxic stress and anxiety can undermine learning.38
They activate the “fight or flight” regions of the brain
instead of the prefrontal cortex associated with higher order
thinking. Poverty and other adverse childhood experiences
are major sources of toxic stress and can have a negative
impact on all aspects of learning and development.39, 40
Protective factors that promote resilience in the face of
adversity include supportive adult–child relationships, a
sense of self-efficacy and perceived control, opportunities
to strengthen adaptive skills and self-regulatory capacity,
cultural traditions, and sources of faith and hope.41
Children’s learning is facilitated when
teaching practices, curricula, and learning
environments build on children’s strengths
and are developmentally, culturally, and
linguistically appropriate for each child.42, 43, 44, 45,
46, 47
That is, teaching practices, curricula, and learning
environments are meaningful and engaging for every
child and lead to challenging and achievable goals.
10. Reflective practice is required to achieve
equitable learning opportunities. Selfawareness, humility, respect, and a willingness to
learn are key to becoming a teacher who equitably
and effectively supports all children and families.48
The Social-Cultural Context of Child Development and Learning
It is essential to understand that child development and learning occur within a
social-cultural, political, and historical context.49 Within that context, each person’s
experiences may vary based on their social identities and the intersection of
these identities. Social identities bring with them socially constructed meanings
that reflect biases targeted to marginalized groups, resulting in differential
experiences of privilege and injustice.50 These systems can change over time,
although many have remained stubbornly rooted in our national ethos.
Traditionally, the dominant narrative in the United States—in
our history, scientific research, education, and other social
policy and media—has reflected the ways in which society
has granted or denied privilege to people based on certain
aspects of their identity. Whiteness, for example, confers
privilege, as does being male. Other aspects of identity that
society tends to favor with easier access to power structures
include being able-bodied, US born, Christian, heterosexual,
cisgender, thin, educated, and economically advantaged.51
Conversely, other aspects of identity tend to be associated with
societal oppression, experienced, for example, by those who
are members of indigenous societies and those who do not
speak fluent, standard English. By naming such privilege and
acknowledging the intersection of privilege and oppression,
the intent is not to blame those who have benefited, but to
acknowledge that privilege exists and that the benefits are
unfairly distributed in ways that must be addressed.
Few men enter the field of early childhood
education, reflecting the historic marginalization
of women’s social and economic roles—which has
had a particularly strong impact on women of color.
Comprising primarily women, the early childhood workforce is
typically characterized by low wages.53 It is also stratified, with
fewer women of color and immigrant women having access
to higher education opportunities that lead to the educational
qualifications required for higher-paying roles.54 Systemic
barriers limit upward mobility, even when degrees and
qualifications are obtained.55 As a result, children are typically
taught by White, middle-class women, with women of color
assisting rather than leading. Some evidence, especially with
elementary-grade children, suggests that a racial and gender
match between teachers and children can be particularly
beneficial for children of color without being detrimental to
other children.56, 57, 58, 59
Dominant social biases are rooted in the social, political, and
economic structures of the United States. Powerful messages—
conveyed through the media, symbols, attitudes, and actions—
continue to reflect and promote both explicit and implicit
bias. These biases, with effects across generations, stem from
a national history too often ignored or denied—including
trauma inflicted through slavery, genocide, sexual exploitation,
segregation, incarceration, exclusion, and forced relocation.
Deeply embedded biases maintain systems of privilege and
result in structural inequities that grant greater access,
opportunity, and power to some at the expense of others.52
The professional research and knowledge base is
largely grounded in a dominant Western scientificcultural model that is but “one perspective on reality and
carries with it its own biases and assumptions.”60 These
shortcomings of the knowledge base reflect the historical
issues of access to higher levels of scholarship for individuals
of color and the need to expand the pipeline of researchers
who bring different lived experiences across multiple social
identities. It is important to consider these biases and
their impact61 on all aspects of system delivery, including
professional development, curriculum, assessment, early
learning standards,62 and accountability systems.
The research base regarding the impact of implicit
bias in early childhood settings is growing.63 Teachers
of young children—like all people—are not immune to such
bias. Even among teachers who do not believe they hold any
explicit biases, implicit biases are associated with differential
judgments about and treatment of children by race, gender,
ability and disability, body type, physical appearance, and
social, economic, and language status—all of which limit
children’s opportunities to reach their potential. Implicit
biases also result in differential judgments of children’s play,
aggressiveness, compliance, initiative, and abilities. These
biases are associated with lower rates of achievement and
assignment to “gifted” services and disproportionately higher
rates of suspension and expulsion, beginning in preschool, for
African American children, especially boys. Studies of multiple
racial and ethnic subgroups in different contexts point to the
complexity of the implicit bias phenomenon, with different
levels and types of bias received by different subgroups.64
Children’s expression of implicit bias has also been found to
vary across countries, although some preference for Whites
was found even in nations with few White or Black residents.65
By recognizing and addressing these patterns
of inequity, society will benefit from tapping
the potential of children whose families and
communities have been systematically marginalized
and oppressed. Early childhood educators, early learning
settings, higher education and professional development
systems, and public policy all have important roles in forging a
new path for the future. By eliminating systemic biases and the
structures that sustain them, advancing equity, and embracing
diversity and inclusivity, we can strengthen our democracy
as we realize the full potential of all young children—and,
therefore, of the next generation of leaders and activists.
Find additional
resources to help bring
the statement to life at
A large and well-established body of knowledge demonstrates
that high-quality early childhood programs promote children’s
opportunities for lifelong success and that public investments
in such programs generate savings that benefit the economy.66
As a result, in the United States and around the world, leaders
across all political persuasions are making greater investments
in early childhood services with broad public support. But
more remains to be done.
NAEYC appreciates the work of the Developmentally
Appropriate Practice/Diversity and Equity Workgroup and
the Early Learning Systems Committee, who participated
in the development of this statement (asterisk denotes
service in both groups): Elisa Huss-Hage (Chair),*
Iliana Alanís,* Chris Amirault,* Amy Blessing,
Garnett S. Booker III, Dina C. Castro,* Lillian Durán,
Isauro M. Escamilla Calan,* Linda M. Espinosa,
Kelly Hantak,* Iheoma U. Iruka, Tamara Johnson,*
Sarah LeMoine, Megan Pamela Ruth Madison,* Ben Mardell,
Lauren E. Mueller, Krista Murphy,* Bridget Murray,*
Alissa Mwenelupembe,* Hakim Rashid, Aisha Ray,
Jeanne L. Reid, Shannon Riley-Ayers,* Christine M. Snyder,*
Jan Stevenson,* Crystal Swank,* Ruby Takanishi,
Tarajean Yazzie-Mintz,* and Marlene Zepeda.
We must build on these investments and work to advance
equity in early childhood education by ensuring equitable
learning opportunities for all young children. This position
statement outlines steps needed to (1) provide high-quality
early learning programs that build on each child’s unique
set of individual and family strengths, cultural background,
language(s), abilities, and experiences and (2) eliminate
differences in educational outcomes as a result of who children
are, where they live, and what resources their families have. All
children deserve the opportunity to reach their full potential.
Join NAEYC to work
with others committed
to advancing equity
in early childhood
education; learn more at
The workgroup and committee were primarily supported
by staff members Barbara Willer, Lauren Hogan, and
Marica Cox Mitchell. NAEYC also acknowledges the support
of the Bainum Family Foundation toward this project. Finally,
NAEYC thanks the many NAEYC members and others who
provided input and feedback as this statement was developed.
Definitions of Key Terms
ability—The means or skills to do something. In this position
statement, we use the term “ability” more broadly than the
traditional focus on cognition or psychometric properties
to apply across all domains of development. We focus and
build on each child’s abilities, strengths, and interests,
acknowledging disabilities and developmental delays while
avoiding ableism (see also ableism and disability below).
ableism—A systemic form of oppression deeply embedded
in society that devalues disabilities through structures
based on implicit assumptions about standards of
physical, intellectual, and emotional normalcy.67, 68
agency—A person’s ability to make choices and influence
events. In this position statement, we emphasize each child’s
agency, especially a child’s ability to make choices and
influence events in the context of learning activities, also
referred to as autonomy or child-directed learning.69, 70
bias—Attitudes or stereotypes that favor one group over
another. Explicit biases are conscious beliefs and stereotypes
that affect one’s understanding, actions, and decisions;
implicit biases also affect one’s understanding, actions, and
decisions but in an unconscious manner. Implicit biases reflect
an individual’s socialization and experiences within broader
systemic structures that work to perpetuate existing systems of
privilege and oppression. An anti-bias approach to education
explicitly works to end all forms of bias and discrimination.71
classism—A systemic form of oppression deeply embedded in
society that tends to assign greater value to middle and upper
socioeconomic status and devalue the “working” class.
culture—The patterns of beliefs, practices, and traditions
associated with a group of people. Culture is increasingly
understood as inseparable from development.72, 73 Individuals
both learn from and contribute to the culture of the groups to
which they belong. Cultures evolve over time, reflecting the lived
experiences of their members in particular times and places.
disability and developmental delay—Legally defined for young
children under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
(IDEA), disabilities include intellectual disability; hearing, speech
or language, visual, and/or orthopedic impairment; autism; and
traumatic brain injury. Under IDEA, states define developmental
delays to include delays in physical, cognitive, communication,
social or emotional, or adaptive development. These legal definitions
are important for determining access to early intervention and
early childhood special education services. The consequences
of the definition can vary based on the degree to which they are
seen as variations in children’s assets or the degree to which they
are seen as deficits.74 (See also ableism and ability, above.)
diversity—Variation among individuals, as well as within and
across groups of individuals, in terms of their backgrounds
and lived experiences. These experiences are related to social
identities, including race, ethnicity, language, sexual orientation,
gender identity and expression, social and economic status,
religion, ability status, and country of origin. The terms diverse
and diversity are sometimes used as euphemisms for nonWhite. NAEYC specifically rejects this usage, which implies that
Whiteness is the norm against which diversity is defined.
equity—The state that would be achieved if individuals fared
the same way in society regardless of race, gender, class,
language, disability, or any other social or cultural characteristic.
In practice, equity means all children and families receive
necessary supports in a timely fashion so they can develop
their full intellectual, social, and physical potential.
Equity is not the same as equality. Equal treatment given to
individuals at unequal starting points is inequitable. Instead
of equal treatment, NAEYC aims for equal opportunity. This
requires considering individuals’ and groups’ starting points,
then distributing resources equitably (not equally) to meet needs.
Attempting to achieve equality of opportunity without considering
historic and present inequities is ineffective, unjust, and unfair.75
equitable learning opportunities—Learning opportunities
that not only help each child thrive by building on each one’s
unique set of individual and family strengths—including
cultural background, language(s), abilities and disabilities, and
experiences—but also are designed to eliminate differences in
outcomes that are a result of past and present inequities in society.
funds of knowledge—Essential cultural practices and bodies of
knowledge embedded in the daily practices and routines of families.76
gender identity—A social concept that reflects how individuals
identify themselves. Traditionally viewed as a binary category
of male/female linked to an individual’s sex, gender identity is
viewed by current science as fluid and expansive. Cisgender
individuals develop a gender identity that matches their legal
designation. Transgender individuals are those whose
gender identity and/or expression differs from cultural
expectations based on their legal designation at birth.77
historical trauma—“The cumulative emotional and psychological
wounding over the lifespan and across generations, emanating
from massive group trauma experiences.”78 Examples of historical
trauma include the multigenerational effects of white supremacy
reflected in colonization, genocide, slavery, sexual exploitation,
forced relocation, and incarceration based on race or ethnicity.
inclusion—Embodied by the values, policies, and practices that
support the right of every infant and young child and their family,
regardless of ability, to participate in a broad range of activities
and contexts as full members of families, communities, and
society. The desired results of inclusive experiences for children
with and without disabilities and their families include a sense
of belonging and membership, positive social relationships and
friendships, and development and learning to help them reach
their full potential.79 Although the traditional focus of inclusion
has been on addressing the exclusion of children with disabilities,
full inclusion seeks to promote justice by ensuring equitable
participation of all historically marginalized children.80
intersectionality—The overlapping and interdependent systems
of oppression across, for example, race, gender, ability, and social
status. Intersectionality encourages us to embrace and celebrate
individuals’ multiple social identities. It also highlights the complex
and cumulative effects of different forms of structural inequity
that can arise for members of multiple marginalized groups.
LGBTQIA+—An acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual,
transgender, queer or questioning, intersex, asexual, and
more, reflecting the expansive and fluid concepts of sexual
orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.
marginalization—The process by which specific social groups are
pushed to the edges or margins of society. Marginalized groups are
treated as less important or inferior through policies or practices
that reduce their members’ economic, social, and political power.
microaggressions—Everyday verbal, nonverbal, or environmental
messages that implicitly contain a negative stereotype or are in
some way dehumanizing or othering. These hidden messages
serve to invalidate the recipients’ group identity, to question their
experience, to threaten them, or to demean them on a personal
or group level. Microaggressions may result from implicit or
explicit biases. People who commit microaggressions may view
their remarks as casual observations or even compliments
and may not recognize the harm they can cause.81
norm, normative—The definition of certain actions, identities, and
outcomes as the standard (“the norm” or “normal”), with everything
else as outside the norm. For example, the terms White normativity
or heteronormative refer to instances in which Whiteness and
heterosexuality are considered normal or preferred. Such norms
wrongly suggest that all other races and sexual orientations are
outside the norm or are less preferable. Art activities focused on filling
out a family tree, with designated spaces for “mommy,” “daddy,”
“grandma,” and “grandpa,” for example, may assume a two-parent,
heterosexual household as the normative family structure. (While
some research-based norms provide guidance regarding healthy child
development and appropriate educational activities and expectations,
these norms have too often been derived through research that
has only or primarily included nonrepresentative samples of
children or has been conducted primarily by nonrepresentative
researchers. Additional research, by a more representative
selection of researchers and theorists, is needed to develop new
norms that will support equitably educating all children.)
oppression—The systematic and prolonged
mistreatment of a group of people.
privilege—Unearned advantages that result from being a
member of a socially preferred or dominant social identity
group. Because it is deeply embedded, privilege is often
invisible to those who experience it without ongoing selfreflection. Privilege is the opposite of marginalization or
oppression that results from racism and other forms of bias.
race—A social-political construct that categorizes and
ranks groups of human beings on the basis of skin color
and other physical features. The scientific consensus is that
using the social construct of race to divide humans into
distinct and different groups has no biological basis.82
racism—A belief that some races are superior or inferior to others.
Racism operates at a systemic level through deeply embedded
structural and institutional policies that have favored Whiteness
at the expense of other groups. On an individual level, racism can
be seen in both explicit and implicit prejudice and discrimination.
Both individual and institutional acts of bias work to maintain
power and privilege in the hands of some over others.83
resilience—The ability to overcome serious hardship or
adverse experiences. For children, resilience is promoted
through such protective factors as supportive relationships,
adaptive skill building, and positive experiences.84
sexism—A belief that some gender identities are superior
or inferior to others. Sexism operates at a systemic level
through deeply embedded structural and institutional
policies that have assigned power and prestige to cisgender
men and caring and nurturing roles with little economic
reward to cisgender women, to the detriment of all.
stereotype—Any depiction of a person or group of people that
makes them appear less than fully human, unique, or individual
or that reinforces misinformation about that person or group.
structural inequities—The systemic disadvantage of one or
more social groups compared to systemic advantage for other
groups with whom they coexist. The term encompasses policy, law,
governance, and culture and refers to race, ethnicity, gender or
gender identity, class, sexual orientation, and other domains.85
White fragility—A concept based on the observation that White
people in North America and other parts of the world live in a social
environment that protects and insulates them from race-based
stress, heightening their expectations for racial comfort and lowering
their ability to tolerate racial stress. Even small amounts of racial
stress can be intolerable to White people and can trigger defensive
actions designed to restore the previous equilibrium and comfort.86
xenophobia—Attitudes, prejudices, or actions that reject,
exclude, or vilify individuals as foreigners or outsiders. Although
often targeted at migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, and
displaced persons, xenophobia is not limited to these individuals
but may be applied to others on the basis of assumptions.
L. Derman-Sparks & J.O. Edwards, Anti-Bias Education for
Young Children and Ourselves, 2nd ed. (Washington, DC:
NAEYC, forthcoming).
See K.V. Hardy, “Antiracist Approaches for Shaping Theoretical
and Practice Paradigms,” in Strategies for Deconstructing
Racism in the Health and Human Services, eds. A. Carten, A.
Siskind, & M. Pender Greene (New York: Oxford University
Press, 2016), 125–42.
NASEM (The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering,
and Medicine), How People Learn II: Learners, Contexts, and
Cultures (Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2018;
hereafter How People Learn II).
M.R. Beneke, J.R. Newton, M. Vinh, S.B. Blanchard, & P. Kemp,
“Practicing Inclusion, Doing Justice: Disability, Identity, and
Belonging in Early Childhood,” Zero to Three Journal 39, no. 3
(2019): 26−34.
These recommendations reflect the essential responsibilities of
early childhood educators identified in Power to the Profession
and the Professional Standards and Competencies of Early
Childhood Educators. This statement does not duplicate these
documents but lifts specific elements using an equity lens.
Standards 1, 4, and 5 of the Standards and Competencies
are reflected under the heading “Create a caring, equitable
community of learners.” Standards 2 and 3 are reflected in the
similarly named headings. Standard 6 is reflected in the general
recommendations as well as the advocacy recommendations.
Readers are encouraged to refer to the above documents for
further information regarding expectations for the knowledge,
skills, and competencies of all early childhood educators.
Similarly, these recommendations are consistent with the
principles and ideals of the NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct and
Statement of Commitment.
L.W. Fillmore & C.E. Snow, “What Teachers Need to Know About
Language,” in What Teachers Need to Know About Language,
2nd ed., eds. C.T. Adger, C.E. Snow, & D. Christian (Blue Ridge
Summit, PA: Multilingual Matters, 2018).
NASEM (National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and
Mathematics), Transforming the Financing of Early Care and
Education (Washington, DC: The National Academies Press,
2018; hereafter Transforming the Financing), https://doi.
NASEM, A Roadmap to Reducing Child Poverty (Washington,
DC: The National Academies Press, 2019), https://doi.
Five recent consensus studies led by NASEM and published by
the National Academies Press provide comprehensive literature
reviews that were used heavily in preparing this document:
Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council,
Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth Through Age
8: A Unifying Foundation (2015; hereafter, Transforming
the Workforce), https://doi.org/10.17226/19401; Parenting
Matters: Supporting Parents of Children Ages 0–8 (2016;
hereafter Parenting Matters), https://doi.org/10.17226/21868;
Promoting the Educational Success of Children and Youth
Learning English: Promising Futures (2017; hereafter
Promising Futures), https://doi.org/10.17226/24677;
Transforming the Financing; and How People Learn II.
10 Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, From
Best Practices to Breakthrough Impacts: A Science-Based
Approach to Building a More Promising Future for Young
Children and Families (2016; hereafter From Best Practices to
Breakthrough Impacts), www.developingchild.harvard.edu.
11 Transforming the Workforce.
12 How People Learn II.
13 How People Learn II.
14 Y. Dunham, E.E. Chen, & M.R. Banaji, “Two Signatures of
Implicit Intergroup Attitudes: Developmental Invariance and
Early Enculturation,” Psychological Science 24, no. 6 (2013):
15 E.N. Winkler, “Children Are Not Colorblind: How Young
Children Learn About Race,” PACE 3, no. 3 (2009).
16 C.S. Brown & E.A. Stone, “Gender Stereotypes and
Discrimination: How Sexism Impacts Development,” in
Advances in Child Development and Behavior, vol. 50, eds. S.S.
Horn, M.D. Ruck, & L.S. Liben, 105–33 (Philadelphia: Elsevier,
17 K.R. Olson, K.R. & S. Gülgöz, “Early Findings from the
TransYouth Project: Gender Development in Transgender
Children,” Child Development Perspectives 12, no. 2 (2017),
18 Derman-Sparks & Edwards, Anti-Bias Education.
19 A.L. Skinner & A.N. Meltzoff, “Childhood Experiences and
Intergroup Biases among Children,” Social Issues and Policy
Review 13, no. 1 (2019): 211–240, doi.org/10.1111/sipr.12054.
20 Transforming the Workforce.
21 Derman-Sparks & Edwards, Anti-Bias Education.
37 How People Learn II.
22 M.H. Immordino-Yang, L. Darling-Hammond, & C. Krone, The
Brain Basis for Integrated Social, Emotional, and Academic
Development: How Emotions and Social Relationships
Drive Learning (Washington, DC: The Aspen Institute
National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic
Development, 2018), https://assets.aspeninstitute.org/
38 How People Learn II.
23 B. Rogoff, The Cultural Nature of Human Development (New
York: Oxford University Press, 2003).
24 B. Rogoff, A. Dahl, & M.A. Callanan, “The Importance of
Understanding Children’s Lived Experience,” Developmental
Review 50, Part A (2018): 5–15, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.
25 From Best Practices to Breakthrough Impacts.
26 Transforming the Workforce.
27 How People Learn II.
28 Promising Futures.
29 D.C. Castro, “The Development and Early Care and Education
of Dual Language Learners: Examining the State of Knowledge,”
Early Childhood Research Quarterly 29, no. 4 (2014): 693–98.
30 M. Zepeda, California’s Gold: An Advocacy Framework for
Young Dual Language Learners (Los Altos, CA: Heising-Simons
Foundation, 2017).
31 L.M. Espinosa, “Encouraging the Development and Achievement
of English Language Learners in Early Childhood,” American
Educator 42, no. 3 (2018): 10–11, 39, www.aft.org/ae/fall2018/
32 Parenting Matters.
33 J.K. Adair & A. Barraza, “Voices of Immigrant Parents in
Preschool Settings,” Young Children 69, no. 4 (2014): 32–39.
34 N. González, L.C. Moll, & C. Amanti, eds., Funds of Knowledge:
Theorizing Practices in Households, Communities, and
Classrooms (Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, 2005).
35 D. Paris & H. Samy Alim, eds., Culturally Sustaining
Pedagogies: Teaching and Learning for Justice in a Changing
World (New York: Teachers College Press, 2017).
36 Derman-Sparks & Edwards, Anti-Bias Education.
39 From Best Practices to Breakthrough Impacts.
40 J.P. Shonkoff, A.S. Garner, & the Committee on Psychosocial
Aspects of Child and Family Health, Committee on Early
Childhood, Adoption, and Dependent Care, and Section on
Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, “The Lifelong Effects
of Early Childhood Adversity and Toxic Stress,” Pediatrics
129, no. 1 (2012, reaffirmed 2016): e232–e246, https://doi.
41 Center on the Developing Child, Harvard University, “Gene
Environment Interaction,” 2019, https://developingchild.
42 C. Copple & S. Bredekamp, Developmentally Appropriate
Practice in Early Childhood Programs Serving Children Birth
through Age 8 (Washington, DC: NAEYC, 2009).
43 G. Ladson-Billings, The Dream-Keepers: Successful Teachers of
African American Children (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2009).
44 S. Nieto, Finding Joy in Teaching Students of Diverse
Backgrounds: Culturally Responsive and Socially Just Practices
in US Classrooms (Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2013).
45 S.M. Jones & J. Kahn, The Evidence Base for How We Learn:
Supporting Students’ Social, Emotional, and Academic
Development (Washington, DC: The Aspen Institute National
Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development,
2017), www.aspeninstitute.org/publications/evidence-baselearn/.
46 A.M. Blankstein, P. Noguera, & L. Kelly, eds., Excellence through
Equity (Alexandria, VA: ASCD, 2016).
47 G. Gay, Culturally Responsive Teaching: Theory, Research and
Practice, 3rd ed. (New York: Teachers College Press, 2010).
48 Irving Harris Foundation Professional Development Network,
Diversity-Informed Tenets for Work with Infants, Children, and
Families (Chicago: Irving Harris Foundation, 2012; updated
2018), https://infantcrier.mi-aimh.org/diversity-informedtenets-for-work-with-infants-children-and-families/.
49 How People Learn II.
50 Immordino-Yang, Darling-Hammond, & Krone, Brain Basis.
51 See the following publications for alternative perspectives to
those traditionally reflected in history lessons in American
public education: I.X. Kendi, Stamped from the Beginning:
The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America (New York:
Nation Books, 2016); J.W. Loewen, Lies My Teacher Told Me:
Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong,
rev. ed. (New York: The New Press, 2018); R. Dunbar-Ortiz,
An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States (Boston:
Beacon Press, 2014); M. Bronski, A Queer History of the United
States (Boston: Beacon Press, 2011); K. Manne, Down Girl: The
Logic of Misogyny (New York: Oxford University Press, 2018).
52 See for example NASEM, Communities in Action: Pathways to
Health Equity (Washington, DC: The National Academies Press,
2017; hereafter Communities in Action), https://www.nap.edu/
read/24624/chapter/1; A. Hanks, D. Solomon, & C.E. Weller,
Systematic Inequality: How Structural Racism Helped Create
the Black–White Wealth Gap (Washington, DC: Center for
American Progress, 2018), www.americanprogress.org/issues/
I. Morgan & A. Amerikaner, Funding Gaps: An Analysis of
School Funding Equity Across the US and Within Each State
(Washington, DC: Education Trust, 2018), https://edtrust.org/
FINAL.pdf; N. Slopen, J.P. Shonkoff, M.A. Albert, H. Yoshikawa,
A. Jacobs, R. Stoltz, & D.R. Williams, “Racial Disparities in
Child Adversity in the US: Interactions with Family Immigration
History and Income,” American Journal of Preventive
Medicine 50, no. 1 (2016): 47–56, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.
amepre.2015.06.013; Z.D. Bailey, N. Krieger, M. Agénor, J.
Graves, N. Linos, M.T. Bassett, “Structural Racism and Health
Inequities in the USA: Evidence and Interventions,” The Lancet
389, no. 10077 (2017): 1453–63, https://doi.org/10.1016/
55 Whitebook et al., Early Childhood Workforce Index 2018.
56 J.T. Downer, P. Goble, S.S. Myers, & R.C. Pianta, “Teacher–Child
Racial/Ethnic Match Within Pre-Kindergarten Classrooms and
Children’s Early School Adjustment,” Early Childhood Research
Quarterly 37 (2016): 26–38, https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/
57 D. Figlio, “The Importance of a Diverse Teaching Force”
(Washington, DC: Brookings Institute, 2017), www.brookings.
58 C.A. Lindsay & C.M.D. Hart, “Exposure to Same-Race Teachers
and Student Disciplinary Outcomes for Black Students in North
Carolina,” Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis 39, no.
3 (2017): 485–510, https://poverty.ucdavis.edu/sites/main/
59 L.A. Bates & J.E. Glick, “Does It Matter If Teachers and Schools
Match the Student? Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Problem
Behaviors,” Social Science Research 42, no. 5 (2013): 1180–90,
60 How People Learn II, 367.
61 See How People Learn II for a discussion of J. Henrich, S.J.
Heine, & A. Norenzayan, “Most People Are Not WEIRD,” Nature
466, no. 7302 (2010): 29, https://doi.org/10.1038/466029a.
62 Reid, J.L., S.L. Kagan, & C. Scott-Little. 2017. “New
Understandings of Cultural Diversity and the Implications for
Early Childhood Policy, Pedagogy, and Practice.” Early Child
Development and Care, http://doi.org/10.1080/03004430.2017
53 M. Whitebook, C. McLean, L.J.E. Austin, & B. Edwards, Early
Childhood Workforce Index 2018 (Berkeley, CA: Center for
the Study of Child Care Employment, University of California,
Berkeley, 2018), https://cscce.berkeley.edu/files/2018/06/
54 M. Park, M. McHugh, J. Batalova, & J. Zong, Immigrant and
Refugee Workers in the Early Childhood Field: Taking a Closer
Look (Washington, DC: Migration Policy Institute, 2015), www.
63 For a review of implicit bias in general, see C. Staats, K.
Capatosto, L. Tenney, & S. Mamo, State of the Science: Implicit
Bias Review (Columbus, OH: The Ohio State University Kirwan
Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, 2017).
Regarding bias specific to early childhood education,
see W.S. Gilliam, A.N. Maupin, C.R. Reyes, M. Accavitti,
& F. Shic, Do Early Educators’ Implicit Biases Relate to
Behavior Expectations and Recommendations of Preschool
Expulsions and Suspensions? (New Haven, CT: Yale Child
Study Center, 2016), medicine.yale.edu/childstudy/zigler/
Brief_final_9_26_276766_5379_v1.pdf; C.S. Brown & E.A.
Stone, “Gender Stereotypes and Discrimination: How Sexism
Impacts Development,” in Advances in Child Development
and Behavior, vol. 50, eds. S.S. Horn, M.D. Ruck, & L.S. Libenz
(Philadelphia: Elsevier), 105–33; T.M. Yates & A.K. Marcelo,
“Through Race-Colored Glasses: Preschoolers’ Pretend Play and
Teachers’ Ratings of Preschool Adjustment,” Early Childhood
Research Quarterly 29, no. 1 (2014): 1–11; N. Priest, N. Slopen,
S. Woolford, J.T. Philip, D. Singer, A.D. Kauffman, K. Mosely,
M. Davis, Y. Ransome, & D. Williams, “Stereotyping Across
Intersections of Race and Age: Racial Stereotyping among
White Adults Working with Children,” PLOS One 13, no. 10
(2018), https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0201696; B.T.
Bowman, J.P. Comer, & D.J. Johns. “Addressing the African
American Achievement Gap: Three Leading Educators Issue a
Call to Action,” Young Children 73, no. 2 (2018): 12–21, www.
K.S.S. Colegrove & J.K. Adair, “Countering Deficit Thinking:
Agency, Capabilities and the Early Learning Experiences of
Children of Latina/o Immigrants,” Contemporary Issues
in Early Childhood 15, no. 2 (2014): 122−35, https://
doi.org/10.2304/ciec.2014.15.2.122; J.A. Grissom & C.
Redding, “Discretion and Disproportionality: Explaining the
Underrepresentation of High-Achieving Students of Color in
Gifted Programs,” AERA Open 2, no. 1 (2016): 1–25, https://
doi.org/10.1177/2332858415622175; U.S. Government
Accountability Office (GAO), K–12 Education: Discipline
Disparities for Black Students, Boys, and Students with
Disabilities (Washington, DC: GAO, 2018), www.gao.gov/
assets/700/692095.pdf; M. Souto-Manning & A. Rabadi-Raol,
“(Re)Centering Quality in Early Childhood Education: Toward
Intersectional Justice for Minoritized Children,” Review of
Research in Education 42, no. 1 (2018): 203–25, https://doi.
org/10.3102/0091732X18759550); and J.K. Adair, “Examining
Whiteness as an Obstacle to Positively Approaching Immigrant
Families in US Early Childhood Educational Settings,” Race,
Ethnicity and Education 17, no. 5 (2014): 643–66, https://doi.
Regarding implicit bias in children, see C.S. Brown, H.
Ali, E.A. Stone, & J.A. Jewell, “US Children’s Stereotypes and
Prejudices Toward Arab Muslims,” Analyses of Social Issues and
Public Policy 17, no. 1 (2017): 60–83; and L. Bian, S.J. Leslie,
& A. Cimpian, “Gender Stereotypes About Intellectual Ability
Emerge Early and Influence Children’s Interests,” Science 355,
no. 6323 (2017): 389–91.
64 Regarding intersectionality in implicit bias, see
R. Wright, Race Matters . . . And So Does Gender: An
Intersectional Examination of Implicit Bias in Ohio School
Discipline Disparities (Columbus, OH: The Ohio State University
Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, 2016,
Race-matters-and-so-does-Gender.pdf); and Y. Irizarry,
“Utilizing Multidimensional Measures of Race in Education
Research: The Case of Teacher Perceptions,” Sociology of
Race and Ethnicity 1, no. 4 (2015): 564–83, https://doi.
65 J.R. Steele, M. George, A. Williams., & E. Tay, “A Cross-Cultural
Investigation of Children’s Implicit Attitudes toward White
and Black Racial Outgroups,” Developmental Science (May 14,
2018), https://doi.org/10.1111/desc.12673.
66 Most studies have focused on the birth-to-5 age range, but
a growing number of programs are also considering the
characteristics of program quality on kindergarten through third
grade. See the Heckman Equation (www.heckmanequation.org)
for a number of resources discussing the return on investment
of high-quality early childhood programs serving children
birth through age 5. See also D.A. Phillips, M.W. Lipsey, K.A,
Dodge, R. Haskins, D. Bassok, M.R. Burchinal, G.J. Duncan, M.
Dynarski, K.A. Magnuson, & C. Weiland, Puzzling It Out: The
Current State of Scientific Knowledge on Pre-Kindergarten
Effects: A Consensus Statement (Washington, DC: Brookings
Institute, 2017, www.brookings.edu/research/puzzling-it-outthe-current-state-of-scientific-knowledge-on-pre-kindergarteneffects); H. Yoshikawa, C. Weiland, J. Brooks-Gunn, M.R.
Burchinal, L.M. Espinosa, W.T. Gormley, J. Ludwig, K.A.
Magnuson, D. Phillips, & M.J. Zaslow, Investing in Our Future:
The Evidence Base on Preschool Education (Washington, DC:
Society for Research in Child Development, 2013, https://
fcd-us.org/resources/evidence-base-preschool); J.S. Cannon,
M.R. Kilburn, L.A. Karoly, T. Mattox, A.N. Muchow, & M.
Buenaventura, Investing Early: Taking Stock of Outcomes and
Economic Returns from Early Childhood Programs (Santa
Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2017); and D.C. McCoy, H.
Yoshikawa, H., K.M. Ziol-Guest, G.J. Duncan, H.S. Schindler, K.
Magnuson, R. Yang, A. Koepp, J.P. Shonkoff, “Impacts of Early
Childhood Education on Medium- and Long-Term Educational
Outcomes,” Educational Researcher 46, no. 8 (2017): 474–87.
For studies looking at K−3, see S. Ritchie & L. Gutmann, eds.,
FirstSchool: Transforming PreK–3rd Grade for African
American, Latino, and Low-Income Children (New York:
Teachers College Press, 2014); B. Atchison & L. Diffey, Initiatives
from Preschool to Third Grade: A Policymaker’s Guide (Denver:
Education Commission of the States, 2018); Transforming
the Financing; and K. Kauerz & J. Coffman, Framework for
Planning, Implementing, and Evaluating PreK–3rd Grade
Approaches (Seattle: College of Education, University of
Washington, 2013).
67 Ö. Sensoy & R.J. DiAngelo, Is Everyone Really Equal?: An
Introduction to Key Concepts in Social Justice Education (New
York: Teachers College Press, 2017).
68 Beneke et al., “Practicing Inclusion.”
69 J.K. Adair, “Agency and Expanding Capabilities in Early Grade
Classrooms: What It Could Mean for Young Children,” Harvard
Educational Review 84, no. 2 (2014): 217–41.
70 Australian Government Department of Education and Training
for the Council of Australian Governments, Belonging, Being,
and Becoming: The Early Years Learning Framework for
Australia (Canberra, Australia: Australian Government
Department of Education and Training for the Council of
Australian Governments, 2009), https://docs.education.gov.au/
78 M.Y.H. Brave Heart, “The Historical Trauma Response Among
Natives and Its Relationship with Substance Abuse: A Lakota
Illustration,” Journal of Psychoactive Drugs 35, no. 1 (2003): 7.
79 DEC (Division for Early Childhood)/NAEYC, Early Childhood
Inclusion position statement (Missoula, MT/Washington, DC:
DEC/NAEYC, 2009).
80 Beneke et al., “Practicing Inclusion.”
71 Derman-Sparks & Edwards, Anti-Bias Education.
81 D.W. Sue, C.M. Capodilupo, G.C. Torino, J.M. Bucceri,
A.M.B. Holder, K.L. Nadal, & M. Esquilin, “Racial MicroAggressions in Everyday Life: Implications for Clinical Practice,”
American Psychologist 62, no. 4 (2007): 271–86. https://doi.
72 Reid, Kagan, & Scott-Little, “New Understandings.”
82 Derman-Sparks & Edwards, Anti-Bias Education.
73 Rogoff, Cultural Nature.
83 Derman-Sparks & Edwards, Anti-Bias Education.
74 Beneke et al., “Practicing Inclusion.”
84 Center on the Developing Child, InBrief: The Science of
Resilience (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University, 2015),
75 National Equity Project, “Leading and Working toward Equity,”
(PowerPoint presentation, Leading and Working toward Equity
Leadership Summit, NAEYC, Washington, DC, July 2018). To
access webinars about equity, especially as it relates to early
childhood education, visit www.naeyc.org/events/trainingswebinars/recorded-webinars and https://nationalequityproject.
85 NASEM, Communities in Action.
86 R. DiAngelo, White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People
to Talk About Racism (Boston: Beacon Press, 2018).
76 González, Moll, & Amanti, Funds of Knowledge.
77 Gender Justice in Early Childhood, “Gender in Early Childhood
V1 (Fact Sheet)” (2017), https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B89
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